MAFF members will benefit immensely if proposed changes to Public Act 54 and the state Personal Property Tax are passed by the Legislature. Currently, when a collective bargaining agreement expires, Public Act 54 (PA 54) of 2011 freezes all wages and benefits of public employees and places the burden of health care, dental, vision, prescription or other insurance cost increases automatically upon those employees. The wage freeze also applies to step increases. House Bill 5097 (HB 5097) would exempt public employees who are eligible to participate in compulsory bargaining of labor disputes under Public Act 312 from provisions in PA 54 which restrict compensation and benefits after a contract expires and prohibit wage or benefit levels in a new contract from being retroactive. House Speaker Pro-tempore John Walsh is the primary sponsor of this bill, which would benefit police, fire fighters, dispatchers and EMT's alike. Walsh told Michigan Capitol Confidential, a Mackinac Center for Public Policy news service, that legislators did not expect PA 54 to apply to public safety employees covered under Act 312. In fact, police and fire fighters were told by legislators it wouldn't apply to them. Since the law conflicts with language in Act 312 of 1969, Walsh said the Legislature can choose between passing an amendment to the current law or litigation brought by public safety employee unions.
June 19, 2014
SENATE PULLS PLUG ON ROAD FUNDING, TO FORM SUMMER WORK TEAM
After failing to find the votes necessary to generate new road funding revenues the GOP-controlled Senate joined the House in adjourning last week for a scheduled summer break.
The Senate first scrapped Majority Leader Randy Richardville's (R-Monroe) original plan to raise $1.4 billion after five years, then could must only 17 votes for legislation that would index the state's 19-cent gas tax to the rate of inflation the major piece of a scaled-down plan to raise a new combined $247 million.
Former longtime members White Lake Township Fire Fighters return to MAFF
Former longtime MAFF members, White Lake Township Career (Full-Time) Fire Fighters returned to the Union in November 2013 after a three year hiatus and they are already pleased with the difference MAFF representation has made.
"My experience with MAFF – it is a completely different experience," said Union steward David Mills. "I couldn't hope for or ask for better union representation than Donnell Reed. He's honest, he's professional and very accessible despite his busy life."
MAFF represented White Lake Township Career Fire Fighters from 1992 to November 2010, when the fire fighters decided to switch their representation to Fire Fighters Association of Michigan (FAOM) based on promises made, but not kept. White Lake Fire Fighter's voted unanimously to return to MAFF, 13-0. "The primary reason they left is they weren't receiving the representation they were promised. They did have to do their own negotiations," said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Donnell Reed.
Belleville POC Fire Fighters join MAFF because of unsafe working condition concerns
By Jennifer Foley, MAFF Editor
Belleville Paid On-Call Fire Fighters Association voted to organize and join MAFF in May. The 13-member group, which was previously unrepresented, chose MAFF based on a recommendation from a neighboring MAFF department.
"They have tried internally to work with the local officials to improve some working conditions for them dealing with wages and safety issues within the fire station and equipment," said MAFF Labor Rep. Donnell Reed. "They have some very serious concerns about the equipment they're forced to work with. This is not for financial gain, as much as for their safety and well being while they act as paid on call firefighters."
The membership voted 7-1 to join MAFF after attempting to work with city officials who rejected their requests. Nominated Union President Brian Blackburn said the station's diesel exhaust extraction system was broken and when the City refused to fix it, a resident paid $500 to cover the cost. "A little bit after that the system broke again and it's still broken today and when the trucks start up, especially in the winter, all the fumes head right to the furnace," Blackburn said. "The filters look so bad it looks like a graphite filter. We have other issues with truck maintenance and equipment testing. We were finally done playing nice."
"Generations of family members have gone through that fire department and over the years they never had any life insurance per se. They had a long-time serving firefighter pass and his family struggled to bury him. They now have Employer funded life insurance for non-duty related injuries," said MAFF Labor Relations Specialist Donnell Reed.
Contract Duration: 2-year agreement ratified 4-22-14 and effective 1-1-14 to 12-31-15.
Wages: $250 signing bonus and wage re-opener on 1-1-15.
- Tone out compensation changed from first hour to 15 minute intervals after going into third hour. Employees are guaranteed first hour of pay. One minute into the second hour after tone out time, they are guaranteed entire second hour of pay and may be directed to perform any duty for the remainder of the hour if all incident-related work is complete. Every hour thereafter, Employees are paid in 15 minute intervals.
- $25,000 fully funded term life insurance policy.
Community Involvement: Employees will be compensated for their involvement in more community activities including speaking at events, and participating in business openings, burn camp, and school functions.
Bargaining Team: Labor Relations Specialist Donnell Reed and Association President Kevin Cleary.
Consolidation trend continues for Michigan fire departments
As revenue to communities continues to evaporate, employers are looking for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, fire services are not exempt from these cuts and the growing response is consolidation.
Michigan was particularly hard hit by the recession as communities try to come to grips with the lengthily loss of revenue due to the cap on property taxes caused by Proposal A of 1994. Until 1994, property was valued at half of its market value, or State Equalized Value (SEV). Now the growth in taxable valuable is limited to the rate of inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less. Since taxable value declined when the real estate market collapsed in 2007 and inflation remains around 2 percent, some communities have lost up to 20 percent of property tax revenue. In those municipalities, it could take up to a decade to fully recover the same revenues.